Skip to main content
Multiple-Choice versus Short-Response Items: Differences in Omit Behaviour
Australian Journal of Education (1999)
  • Gabrielle Matters
  • Paul C Burnett, Queensland University of Technology

The overall rate of omission of items for 28,331 17 year old Australian students on a high stakes test of achievement in the common elements or cognitive skills of the senior school curriculum is reported for a subtest in multiple choice format and a subtest in short response format. For the former, the omit rates were minuscule and there was no significant difference by gender or by type of school attended. For the latter, where an item can be 'worth' up to five times that of a single multiple choice item, the omit rates were between 10 and 20 times that for multiple choice and the difference between male and female omit rate was significant as was the difference between students from government and non-government schools. For both formats, females from single sex schools omitted significantly fewer items than did females from co-educational schools. Some possible explanations of omit behaviour are alluded to.

Publication Date
August, 1999
Citation Information
Gabrielle Matters and Paul C Burnett. "Multiple-Choice versus Short-Response Items: Differences in Omit Behaviour" Australian Journal of Education Vol. 43 Iss. 2 (1999)
Available at: